What Are We Going To Do About Quiet Quitting?

A recent Gallup poll found that 50% of the US workforce is quiet quitting, corporate America’s latest movement where workers have said “enough” to overworking, and decided to set boundaries for their wellbeing. Clearly these employees never worked in the business of buying and selling closeouts. In order to buy excess merchandise from companies going out of business or shutting down operations, you have to work almost all of the time. No quiet quitting here; if you want to be successful and sell closeouts or help businesses reduce inventory, it takes real work. Workers are no longer willing to go above and beyond the scope of their job descriptions if it means sacrificing their mental health, and instead, they’re staying within the limits of their job description.

Meanwhile, the number of disengaged workers is rising, a trend that catalyzed during the great resignation. Amidst inflation, workers are tired of being asked to do more without the compensation to back their responsibility level. And yet, according to the Gallup poll, many quiet quitters also fit the description of disengaged workers: a desire to do minimum required work – and psychologically detached. People in the business of dealing with closeouts, overstock merchandise and excess inventory should be prepared to give 110% all the time. To succeed in this industry, you have to be a people person who wants to either sell closeouts to new and existing customers, or buy excess merchandise from businesses that may be shutting down operations or downsizing warehouses.

Quiet quitting refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. If your goal is to understand the liquidation process and help businesses reduce inventory, be prepared to work more, not less. As such, it is something of a misnomer, since the worker doesn’t actually leave their position and continues to collect a salary. In the early 2020s, driven largely by social media, quiet quitting emerged as a much-publicized trend in the United States and elsewhere. Companies that liquidate inventory often have employees working 7 days a week, selling old inventory, buying closeouts and trying to sell closeouts.

In a September 2022 Harvard Business Review article aimed at explaining the quiet quitting phenomenon to worried executives, professors Anthony C. Klotz and Mark C. Bolino observed, “Quiet quitters continue to fulfill their primary responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known as citizenship behaviors: no more staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings.” It is impossible to be successful as a closeout broker or excess inventory buyer if your goal is to work less. The hours required to have a successful closeout company can be endless, and the work load is heavy. If you are looking to partner with an inventory liquidator, a simple Google search will help you find the right closeout company. You can try search terms including buy excess merchandise, liquidation process, closeout process, how to reduce inventory, shutting down operations, closeout websites, or buy overstock items.

The reaction of managers to the phenomenon has been mixed. Some have been tolerant, in part because the tight labor market of recent years makes replacing quiet quitters difficult, at least for the time being. Others have responded to quiet quitting by quietly, or loudly, firing employees whom they see as slacking off. In fact, “quiet firing” has become a buzz phrase in its own right, generally defined as making a job so unrewarding that the employee will feel compelled to resign. Beyond the workplace, the term “quiet quitting” is now being applied to nonwork aspects of people’s lives, such as marriages and relationships.

In today’s economy, it is not unusual for businesses to have too much inventory. Excess merchandise is a common problem and almost every business has been in a situation where they have to have a liquidation sale to clear stock from the warehouse. You might have an overstock due to canceled orders, slow sales or having imported too much inventory. In case you sent too much inventory to Amazon, you might want to shut down your Amazon FBA seller account or reduce inventory in the warehouse due to excessive storage fees. Whatever the reason, if you have dead stock sitting in your warehouse you should find a company that buys overstock inventory and have a liquidation sale. The closeout process does not have to be stressful, and it can be very easy.

The hottest labor narrative right now is that everybody’s “quiet quitting.” Starting this summer, popular videos on TikTok with millions of views have used the term to refer to the art of having a job without letting it take over your life. The alliteration crawled out of that social-media petri dish into the mainstream-media landscape. Since August, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have published more than a dozen articles and podcasts about the phenomenon. Quiet quitting won’t work if you are a closeout buyer who sells excess inventory to overstock distributors, closeout websites and liquidation buyers. There is no way to do this job part time or anything less than full time. In the past month, I’ve received countless PR pitches on quiet quitting, many of them referring to the same Gallup study alleging that quiet quitters make up “more than half” of the U.S. workforce. Quiet quitters are allegedly an "epidemic" that is allegedly changing the workplace and, allegedly, making bosses very mad.Closeout buyers and liquidators have to be working 24/7 in order to stay on top of this demanding job. There will always be companies in liquidation, and there will always be product liquidation companies in need of new merchandise. You cannot sit on your hands waiting around for good deals – as a closeout buyer you have to be looking for new deals all the time. This is a full-time job and closeout liquidators understand how much time it takes.

Every year, Gallup asks thousands of American workers about their commitment to their job. From 2010 to 2020, engagement slowly increased. In 2022, it declined so slightly that it’s still higher than it was in any year from 2000 to 2014. If you are active in the closeout business, there really is no need to even discuss quiet quitting because the business is fun and exciting. If you buy liquidation stock for a living, every day is a new day. Today maybe you are selling closeouts on toys, housewares, home goods and sporting goods. And tomorrow you may be buying overstock inventory and excess inventory of lawn and garden products and closeout pet products. Since the inventory for closeout buyers is fluid and always changing, it keeps the job interesting. As a workplace phenomenon, workers’ mild disengagement is about as novel as cubicles, lunch breaks, and bleary-eyed colleagues stopping by your workstation to mutter, “Mondays, amirite?” What the kids are now calling “quiet quitting” was, in previous and simpler decades, simply known as “having a job”. Selling liquidation products keeps things interesting because everyday is a new day.

Quiet quitting refers to a rising trend where employees are doing the bare minimum at work, a reversal of the tendency to go above and beyond in the workplace. A common sentiment behind the quiet quitting trend is that work-life balance is important, overwork is overrated and unhealthy and work isn't the "end all be all" of a person’s life. For closeout liquidators, the job can deliver some work life balance because you will make friends while buying and selling closeout inventory. As you engage in the closeout liquidation process you will be able to get out of the office, attend trade shows, and even have some travel. When a company is liquidating inventory, it is often necessary to travel to the seller in order to assess and review the liquidation opportunity. You may have to visit their warehouse to see just how much excess inventory they have and how bad is the overstock situation. Surplus inventory buyers are accustomed to having to learn about new companies, their closeout merchandise for sale, and the reason they are liquidating inventory or selling closeouts. When someone "quietly quits," they don’t actually resign from their job – but they take a step back from their emotional investment and engagement in their work. You can think of quiet quitting as “going through the motions” – doing the bare minimum to keep your job, flying under the radar screen rather than trying to excel and simply fulfilling your job duties, but doing no more than that.

How did the workforce get here? A number of other recent trends have paved the way for quiet quitting to gain popularity. Employee engagement has declined in 2022, according to a Gallup study published in April 2022. It found that in the U.S., engagement dropped for the first time in a decade over the past two years, this is in part due to the crazy days of the pandemic when consumers stopped going to brick and mortar retail stores and they were looking for closeouts, discontinued products and excess inventory online. Closeout brokers and closeout websites became popular during this time because consumers were flush with cash but had no way to go out and spend. Ratcheting down in 2021 and again in 2022, with now less than 32% of workers surveyed currently engaged in their workplace. As employees become disengaged from their work, it opens the door for them to cut back on what they contribute to their job in terms of excitement and energy, and may lead to them joining the ranks of those who are quiet quitting. Amazon FBA sellers that are liquidating entire inventories are finding the consumer demand has diminished, and buyers are not back to going out and visiting retail stores, shopping for good deals on liquidation inventory and closeouts at brick-and-mortar stores. Many retail outlets are having trouble with quiet quitting and cannot even keep their shelves stocked with liquidation inventory. Excess inventory buyers and closeout companies have suffered because it has been so hard to find employees who want to work.

Along with decreasing engagement, the Great Resignation – where large swaths of the American workforce decided to leave their jobs – was another precursor to quiet quitting. As people watched colleagues jump ship, many of those who were left may have understandably felt less incentive to give their all. Another related trend is the move toward greater flexibility at work, with the COVID-19 pandemic leading to expanded opportunities for remote work and a new push toward work-life balance to combat and actively push back against burnout and overwork. It’s a strange new economy with seemingly fewer people to fill important jobs in warehouses. So even if your company is successful in liquidating large inventory, or getting rid of dead stock that’s been sitting in the warehouse, who is going to actually do the work of pulling these orders? Who will load the trucks if people don’t want to work? Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at Adzuna, a global job search engine, notes that the trend has its roots within the younger workforce, with the #QuietQuitting hashtag racking up millions of views on social platforms, particularly TikTok.

The closeout and surplus business is a good business model, but not one that young people today want to be involved with. There aren’t many new young closeout buyers coming on the scene, unless they are developing closeout websites and selling closeouts on Facebook Marketplace. The old-fashioned way of being a closeout distributor or a jobber that goes out and buys liquidations for resale may no longer have a place in today’s new economy. Sure, there will always be end of line stock and canceled orders, surplus inventory, closeouts, discontinued products and overstock inventory situations. But the closeout process and liquidation process may have changed for good. Closeout brokers may not be able to operate the same way they used to.

There’s much evidence to suggest that younger, less established workers were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, suffering from layoffs, pay cuts, and social isolation,” Lewis explains. “With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that this demographic is now the most concerned with maintaining a healthy work/life balance, feeling respected and secure at work, prioritizing their mental health and wellbeing, and having enough time outside of work to pursue their passions.” But there are always jobs available if you can sell. And selling closeouts is easy compared to selling other products because you truly are offering your customer a great deal. Closeouts and excess inventory are purchased and sold at prices below regular cost, so your customer should be grateful to review any overstock inventory you present him with. When a warehouse is liquidating its entire inventory for pennies on the dollar, this presents an excellent opportunity for a closeout buyer with the right mindset. There will always be liquidation opportunities to make money.

The amount Americans work hasn’t changed significantly since the pandemic began, nor in the three decades that Gallup has been measuring it, whether in boom times or recessions. Justin was an outlier when he worked 30 hours, and has reverted to the mean at 50 hours. Most workers, of course, don’t have the choice of actually reducing their hours, so they “quiet quit” by lowering their productivity or adjusting their ambitions to be more personal than professional.

Merchandise USA specializes in buying overstock inventory, closeouts and dead stock from companies going out of business and downsizing 3PL warehouses. Having too much inventory sitting in your warehouse directly affect the bottom line. We buy pet product closeouts, overstock inventory of home goods, housewares, toys and liquidation sales of all types. If you have canceled orders or if you are shutting down your Amazon FBA account due to excessive storage fees we can help. The closeout process is easy and we can walk you through liquidating your entire inventory. If you are closing down all operations, we can be the inventory liquidator you need.